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Study smart and prioritize self-care

Strategies for the upcoming alternate exam period for strike-interrupted courses

January 10, 2022 — 

The alternate exam period for strike-interrupted courses is just around the corner, and whether it’s your first time taking exams, or you have many times before, everyone can use some strategies for studying and self-care. Don’t forget to take advantage of UM’s resources available to you to support your health, wellness and academic success! Plus, find out how to manage exam conflicts and deferrals.

Here are some recommendations as you focus on studying and writing your exams.


Sometimes you aren’t sure where to start. Don’t panic, stay calm, and use these pointers to help organize your study time so you can be as productive as possible.

  • Organize essential test materials such as readings, notes taken in class, practice questions, assignment questions and homework.
  • Create a study schedule and pay close attention to courses and areas that you don’t know or don’t understand, but keep in mind it’s also important to review material you know.
  • Be prepared. Knowing the type of exam you are writing (e.g., multiple choice vs. long answer, closed vs. open-book) will help you know what to expect. If you are writing an open-book exam, the questions tend to be application-based and will most likely require you to go beyond answers in the book. Prepare for this kind of exam as you would a regular exam.
  • Don’t cram. Cramming overtaxes your memory and you will end up remembering less, or even get confused about the material.
  • Test yourself daily. Use chapter quizzes, flash cards or create test questions for yourself instead of simply reading your notes. Re-organize and divide information for best results.
  • Don’t just memorize. Understanding the material will ensure that you retain it.
  • Study with others. Reviewing material with a classmate and having a second perspective can benefit both of you. Studying in a group setting can help students stay focused and motivated. You can also attend a Virtual Study Hall session through the Academic Learning Centre to study with others and learn new time-management techniques.
  • Be proactive. If you have questions, your first step should be to contact your professor, instructor or teaching assistant to get the information you need. You can also get online help and other learning supports through the Academic Learning Centre such as Academic Success Workshops that can help you succeed in more ways this term. You can access recorded sessions or attend incoming workshops. UM Libraries can also help with term papers and exams.



Being at your best during exams means you should focus on your wellness as much as you focus on academics. UM has many resources to help you thrive and take care of yourself. Here are some suggestions:

  • Find a balance. Eat healthy meals, get the rest that you need and move your body. Take advantage of UM Recreation Services’ virtual health and fitness resources, and facilities and programs available to you on campus at this time.
  • Get support. If you get anxious and nervous about exams, you are not alone. The Student Counselling Centre offers a full range of counselling services to students, including groups and workshops.
  • Develop good habits. Consult with the UM Health and Wellness Educator for tips on stress management and other ideas for healthy living.
  • Take regular short breaks. Getting up and moving when you’re studying can help prevent neck pain and headaches, and gives your mind a rest so you can return to your work feeling refreshed.
  • Make time for things that bring you joy and help you relax. Enjoy a hobby, take a yoga class, spend some time in nature or connect with friends and family.
  • Remember to breathe. It’s easy to forget this when you’re feeling stressed. Close your eyes and count your breaths, focusing on inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.
  • Remember that your self-worth and value as a person is not determined by one test score or one exam. Regardless of how well you do on exams or in your courses, you are worthy of living a good life. This year has been one unlike any other – show yourself kindness as you are doing the best you can.


Look out for more exam-related tips and tricks on UM Today and @umstudent on Instagram as we get closer to the exam period.

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